The typical U.S. family spends almost $200 a month on home utility bills (according to EnergyStar.gov). In summer months, these costs frequently spike as homeowners rely on air conditioning for comfort. To reduce energy expenses during the summer and save money, try these energy-saving strategies.
Adjust the thermostat.
We all want to be comfortable in our own home, but did you know that adjusting the temperature by a couple of degrees can save you money? Change the temperature a few degrees and watch the savings add up. Cleaning the vents and changing the air filter can also save you some cash.
Clean window air conditioning units.
If you delay installing an air conditioner until it gets really hot, you may wind up throwing it in the window in hopes of getting fast relief. By cleaning the air conditioner first, you can improve its efficiency and save money. Pull out the filter on your air conditioner and clean it. To remove soil, vacuum the interior coils, then wash the exterior of the unit. Straightening the metallic fins on an air conditioner improves airflow, which boosts efficiency.
Weatherstrip windows, doors, and ducts.
Weatherstripping windows, doors and ducts to block air leaks seals your home from air transfer. During summer, weatherstripping prevents cold air from leaking out. As a result, your air conditioner will not have to work as hard to cool the home. You could save up to 10 percent on utility bills when you make an effort to weatherstrip.
Check your insulation.
Make sure your attic, basement or crawl space are well insulated and properly vented. Check with your utility company for guidance on proper insulation installation.
Avoid using the oven.
Anytime you use the oven, you boost temperatures in the kitchen. If you have an open floor plan home, heat can travel easily. This extra heat means the air conditioner needs to work extra to chill the home. Instead of using the oven when it’s already hot out, use the stovetop, toaster oven, or backyard grill. Alternately, serve a cold supper.
Use ceiling fans.
Fans circulate cold air, which is ideal if your home has pockets of hot or cold air. The whirring air creates the sensation of a cool breeze for far less energy than turning on the air conditioner. By using ceiling fans to circulate air, you may be able to raise the temperature on your air conditioner and save money each month.
Close the curtains.
Closing curtains or blinds on summer days prevents the sun’s rays from entering a room. As a result, your home is less likely to experience solar heat gain. You’ll save on energy by naturally preventing heat gain.
Purchase blackout curtains.
It’s a great way to keep not only the light, but also the heat, out of your home. You’ll spend less on utilities because your air conditioning unit won’t have to work as hard. It’s also a great way to get some extra sleep in the morning without the early morning sun beaming through your bedroom.
Use energy efficient light bulbs.
Compact fluorescent and LED bulbs are more efficient and last longer than your average bulb. The price may scare you at first, but in the long run you’ll save money and energy. LED bulbs can last over a decade, even when left on all day and night.
Did you know electronics pull electricity even when they are off? Save money by unplugging small appliances (coffee maker, toaster, etc.), chargers, lamps, and other devices that you aren’t using during the day. Power strips are a great way to make it easier on yourself with just one flip.
These strategies can reduce your energy expenses in summer without sacrificing comfort. Making these simple changes also preserves natural resources and may help prevent summer brownouts by curbing demand on the energy supply.
Source: Balance Financial Fitness